Inside A Modern Beach House Filled With Surprise Details

Felicity Rodgers, the founder of Cargo Crew — the Melbourne business whose uniforms and aprons have taken over the hospitality scene and beyond — knows the importance of good design.

So when the opportunity came up to build a coastal home for her family on the Bellarine Peninsula, Felicity jumped at the chance to create something that captured their identity.

‘Running an apparel business, design is a huge part of our life, and I learned designing a home isn’t too different from designing a garment or business. There’s a lot more similarities than you would think,’ Felicity says.

They purchased a vacant block of land after being given a tip-off by a friend who’d noticed the rarity hit the market. ‘The location of the land was unbeatable, being within walking distance to the beach and in a super tranquil area,’ she adds.

Selecting award-winning architects Kennedy Nolan for the project seemed like a no-brainer. Felicity was drawn to how the studio shared the family’s interest in sustainable design, and their timeless, modernist-inspired aesthetic.

In addition to using passive design principles to help the house retain heat in winter, and keep cool in summer, the completed home incorporates double-glazed windows, recycled brick walls and only electric appliances.

‘Our approach was modern with eclectic touches,’ Felicity says of the original brief given to the architects. Geometric details like the perforated brick wall on the facade bring a unique edge to the contemporary home, which is in many ways a big contrast from the family’s city home — a California bungalow in Melbourne’s north.

‘Though the houses are different in terms of design, we wanted to bring that homely, welcoming feeling to both of the properties,’ Felicity says. Rather than sticking with the traditionally white coastal colour palette, the new build blends brick walls with cement render and timber linings on the ceiling to create the comforting ‘lived-in’ feeling they were chasing.

She also asked the architects to include some ‘surprise moments’, incorporating colour in unexpected ways. ‘For example, our kitchen is a very calm green but then you open the pantry and inside it’s a bright red!’

Elsewhere in the home, ocean blue and green wall panelling envelops the walls, while a cosy bedroom reveals a moss-coloured plush green carpet underfoot. These details are bought together by the mix of iconic ‘investment’ pieces from brands like Jardan and Anfibio, alongside retro second-hand finds stylist Nina Provan sourced specifically for the project.

This detailed approach — right down to the collection of cutlery, ceramics, and accessories Felicity found in local op-shops — has filled the house with personality.

‘It’s unique to us,’ Felicity says. ‘When we finished the home, a friend came over and remarked that it “feels like you”. Having a space to retreat to really enables us to harness time, regroup, feel creative and be inspired.’

Cargo Crew are proudly presenting a talk for Melbourne Design Week discussing the role of design in the hospitality industry. Find out more here.

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